If one wants to create an express lane to the heartstrings of a movie viewer or reader all they need to do is have a sick child or pet in their story. I do not want to come off as being callous; because trust me, I am one of the first ones who will start tearing up when I see an ill animal or child. There is something about seeing a defenseless child or animal suffering that affects me quicker than seeing an adult. I believe it is due to the innocence I perceive in them. Maybe this will make better sense: I have more sympathy for living beings who did nothing to cause themselves to get sick as opposed to an adult who, let us say, drank too much alcohol most of their life and now is suffering with a dying liver. So if that scenario of sickness is going to be part of a story then I want to follow it to its conclusion; whether it has a happy or sad ending does not make a difference to me as long as it is told in an honest way. There is another aspect about all of this that makes this type of story more poignant and that is when it is based on true events. When I am sitting in the theater and the first frame of the film shows what I am about to see is based on a true story I get higher hopes that I will enjoy the movie. When her daughter Anna, played by Kylie Rogers (Finders Keepers, Fathers and Daughters), suddenly became ill and started suffering with severe stomach pain; Christy, played by Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club, Draft Day), wanted an explanation for it, even from God. Based on a true story this dramatic film also included Martin Henderson (Everest, Smokin’ Aces) as Kevin Beam and Eugenio Derbez (Instructions not Included, Jack and Jill) as Dr. Nurko. What worked for me in this picture was the fact this story was based on true events. However, my issue with it was I wished the script would have stayed focused on the Beam family’s plight without the heavy-handed use in reminding me about faith. I read afterwards the movie studio did not want to promote this as a faith based film; however this movie wound up preaching to the chorus in my opinion. Interestingly I became aware of the audience sitting in the theater when one viewer yelled out at a particular scene, “It is a miracle!” It was then that I looked around and realized the crowd was the same type of crowd I have seen at all of these poorly made faith based films. I do not want to be hit over the head with the swooning soundtrack, the film shots of the sky filled with bright light and sermons; I just want to watch and discover the story in my own way. This story of Anna was fascinating enough; I did not need someone telling me how to live my life.
1 ¾ stars
As I walk through the glass doors I am immediately aware my movements throughout the store are being tracked. It is okay, I really do not mind. I have my list and know where I can find each item. Though I am quick to get through the store, I do pause whenever I see a new product on the shelves or displayed at the end caps. You see I am a marketer’s dream consumer; I enjoy trying out new products. Sometimes when I am navigating through the store I feel like I am on a treasure hunt, searching for new discoveries in the food kingdom. I like trying new items if they fit into my food requirements. If I find something that I think is delicious, I immediately want to share it with other people; that is if I do not devour all of it on a weekend. Naw, I will go buy another package to share. However, I understand that things I think taste good someone else may think are horrible. I do not have a problem with that because it is nothing I take personally; we each like and dislike different things. Regarding my movie reviews you may notice I rarely will tell you what you should or should not do. I only let you know what affect the film had on me. There is no ulterior motive on my part and I take offense when a movie is made with an agenda like this one. FROM different backgrounds and places in their lives, a group of strangers each discover the same revelation on their own. Before reviewing this faith based picture I want to reiterate I am not commenting nor want to get into a discussion about religion; I consider that subject to be personal. As a story this dramatic film was completely predictable. It felt as if the writers took snippets from various television shows and pieced them together to make their story. I do not know if it was all the script’s fault or the actors were not on their “A” game but I found nothing good to say about any of them. Part of the cast included Mira Sorvino (The Replacement Killers, Mimic) as Samantha, Cybil Shepherd (The Last Picture Show, Moonlighting-TV) with no name, Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man-TV, The Big Valley-TV) with no name and Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings franchise, The Goonies) as Dr. Farell. The story was hokey to me and it was obvious this film was made for a select audience. I was offended on some levels, especially due to the stereotyping of thugs being Black and the single pregnant female being ethnic, possibly Hispanic. This was a waste of my time, not for my tastes.
1 1/2 stars
Once again I was peering into the kitchen sink with its stopped up drain. The still, murky dishwater had a few mounds of suds that aimlessly drifted across the surface like melting icebergs. I had already poured some liquid drain opener into the sink but there were no signs of any movement. Looking in the basement over by my tools I came across an unopened box that contained a device that claimed to clear drains. I had seen an advertisement for it but had not used it yet. Returning with it to the kitchen I broke open the sealed box flap and poured the contents onto the kitchen counter. At first glance the items looked like a pile of tired snakes, gray with red tips. I followed the instructions on how to assemble the pieces. When I was done I was not sure which end was to go into the sink first. Inserting one end into the drain I pushed down on the air pump but nothing happened. Flipping to the other side I tried again but not even an air bubble came up to the water’s surface. Repeating the process again with the other end, the air pump still did not deliver its claim to clear the drain with forced air; the device was a useless piece of garbage. SIMILARLY, this faith based film reminded me of my clogged kitchen drain: dead in the water filled with rubbish. Nicholas Cage (Moonstruck, Leaving Las Vegas) played commercial pilot Rayford Steele, who was piloting a flight overseas to London when a portion of the passengers suddenly disappeared into thin air. Unable to contact anyone at flight control, it was not until he heard from his daughter Chloe, played by Cassi Thomson (Grave Halloween-TV, Big Love-TV), that he discovered people were mysteriously vanishing all over the world. Flying blind, Rayford was not sure if he would be able to safely land. I do not know where to start regarding all the things that were wrong with this action thriller. Besides being utterly offensive in the way they used stereotypes such as the “smart” asian man and the “suspicious” middle easterner, the script was cheesy and pathetic. The acting if you want to call it that was sad from everyone including Lea Thompson (Back to the Future franchise, J. Edgar) as Irene Steele and Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill-TV, House of Wax) as Buck Williams. Seeing the character Chloe going from riding a motorcycle to a piece of heavy equipment was laughable. It was brutal sitting through this film as it pounded its faith based agenda into the viewers’ heads. No way would I even consider this a movie; it was bigoted propaganda. This garbage needed to be flushed down the drain since nothing was going on except a paycheck.